Kenny Burrell
Kenny Burrell

Kenny Burrell

About Kenny Burrell

Kenny Burrell is an American jazz musician known for his influential style and prolific work as a bandleader, sideman, and educator.

∙ Born in Detroit in 1931, Burrell bought his first guitar at age 12 after the metal shortage during World War II made it difficult to pursue his interest in the saxophone.
∙ While studying music at Wayne State University in 1951, he made his recording debut playing in Dizzy Gillespie’s jazz sextet.
∙ He moved to New York City and signed to the legendary jazz label Blue Note, which released his debut album, Introducing Kenny Burrell, in 1956.
∙ An in-demand session guitarist, he played on legendary records by Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, James Brown, Louis Armstrong, Stan Getz, Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, and Bill Evans.
∙ After joining UCLA as a music professor in 1978, Burrell was appointed Director of Jazz Studies in 1996 and mentored a new generation of jazz greats, including Kamasi Washington.
∙ In addition to his influence on jazz artists, he’s been named as a key inspiration by rock star guitarists Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Peter Frampton.
∙ In 2005, he was honored with the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award.

  • HOMETOWN
    Detroit, MI
  • BORN
    July 31, 1931

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